Daphine Nielsen – STEMI Heart Attack Success Story

After Methodist Charlton saved her from a heart attack, Daphine Nielsen found a new lease on life

Daphine Nielsen – STEMI Heart Attack Success Story
To say Daphine Nielsen is lucky to be alive is an understatement.

“When I first came to Methodist Charlton Medical Center, I didn’t have a teaspoon of blood running through me,” the 41-year-old Red Oak resident says, remembering the morning of July 6, 2013.

She had noticed unusual pressure in her chest. As a survivor of a previous heart attack and with a family history of heart problems, Nielsen knew that she needed help fast. She had her friend call 911.

A matter of minutes

“As soon as I was out of the ambulance, there were a dozen people helping me,” Nielsen recalls. “I couldn’t have been there for more than a few minutes before they had me in the cardiac catheterization lab.”

Cardiologist Manishkumar Patel, MD, part of the team responsible for Methodist Charlton’s award-winning heart attack treatment times, quickly determined Nielsen was having a severe heart attack and called a code STEMI, short for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.

“Most patients I see have a blockage of one artery, but Daphine had a 100 percent blockage in both,” Dr. Patel says. A minimally invasive procedure called balloon angioplasty would open the blocked arteries.

“But as soon as we began trying to clear the blockages, her blood pressure dove and we lost her pulse,” Dr. Patel says. “After performing CPR for two minutes, we were able to revive her and quickly restore blood flow to her heart.”

Prescription for hope

After four days under the watchful eye of Methodist Charlton, Nielsen left the hospital with a life renewed and a prescription for survival.

“Dr. Patel said that I had to quit smoking immediately; cut down the salt; and take my medication every day, no excuses — and believe me, I wasn’t looking for them,” Nielsen says. “When I was back in for my checkup, Dr. Patel told me that as long as I followed that healthier routine, I most likely would never have another heart attack.

“To go from no pulse to living life free of future heart problems, well, it’s unbelievable.”

With a fresh lease on life, Nielsen has a new sense of purpose and enthusiasm.

“I’m back to work at the paint shop, and I’ve even started painting some cars,” she says. “It was a hobby at first, but now I feel like it can be more than that.

“I feel like I’m actually me again, and I’m just glad to be back to it.”

From the spring 2014 edition of Shine magazine.